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Stage Kiss (Ruhl) - Full Length Play, Comedy

Stage Kiss (Ruhl)

Sarah Ruhl

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Full Length Play, Comedy

4m, 3f

ISBN: 9780573702822

Art imitates Life. Life imitates Art. When two actors with a history are thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama, they quickly lose touch with reality as the story onstage follows them offstage...

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Media | Author | Now Playing | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $125 per performance

Mandatory Music/Media Fee: $15 per performance


Full Length Play


Romantic Comedy

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Contemporary, Present Day, 1930s

Settings Of Play - The set has three modes which should easily transform. A red curtain would be nice to set off the plays within plays.
1) A raw theater space (emptiness)
2) A 1930s stage set (artifice happy to be artifice)
3) A naturalistically messy east village apartment, as real as possible (artifice ashamed of its own artifice)


Interior Set, Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


Alcohol, Drugs, Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


From Off-Broadway

Sarah Ruhl is the 2003 recipient of the Whiting Award for Drama
Art imitates Life. Life imitates Art. When two actors with a history are thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama, they quickly lose touch with reality as the story onstage follows them offstage. Stage Kiss captures Sarah Ruhl’s singular voice. It is a charming tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss—or when actors share a real one.


"CRITIC'S PICK. Suffused with warmth and humor. Sarah Ruhl frothily whips together romantic comedy and backstage farce in this lively comedy about a pair of actors...who find life and art mixing together when they rekindle an old romance during rehearsals for a play." — New York Times

"FOUR STARS. Sarah Ruhl delivers a brilliant comedy that aims for big laughs and hits its target. Funny: There’s nothing like it." — New York Post

At once a knowing sendup of the hazy half-truths of stage naturalism and a goofy meditation on the nature of desire and sexual fantasy, [Stage Kiss] manages to be both wholly original and instantly recognizable to the audience. As a satire of theatre and theatricals, it’s right up there with Neil Simon’s 'The Sunshine Boys.''- The New Yorker

"There's not one but two plays-within-a-play in Sarah Ruhl's "Stage Kiss," a highly meta-theatrical, fundamentally enjoyable, slightly slight, not-so-romantic comedy pondering the complexity of onstage osculation." - Variety

Stage Kiss is part parody, part inside-baseball valentine to theater, part falling-down silly physical comedy about love." - Newsday

The gorgeously articulate author of The Clean House and Eurydice is in top form with this delightful piece" - Theatremania

Additional Information from Playwrights Horizons

Stage Kiss enjoyed it's world premiere at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, in 2011, before making its New York City debut at Playwrights Horizons in 2014 under the direction of Rebecca Taichman.


4m, 3f


Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle), Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

SHE - A woman in her mid-forties. Plays the role of Ada Wilcox.
HE - A man in his mid-forties. Plays the role of Johnny Lowell.
KEVIN - the reader, also plays the understudy and the doctor and the butler
ANGELA - An actress in her early twenties who can believably play a teenager—plays THE MAID in act 1 and ANGELA in act 2
AN ACTRESS - in her late twenties or early thirties, plays MILLICENT in act 1 and LAURIE in act 2
  • Sarah Ruhl on Subtext

  • Sarah Ruhl Stage Kiss

  • STAGE KISS by Sarah Ruhl, Playwrights Horizons

  • Rebecca Taichman on STAGE KISS, Playwrights Horizons

Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, Dear Elizabeth and Stage Kiss. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at ... view full profile

Now Playing
Matt Masino 5/20/2016 1:25 AM
A wonderful play, a wonderful read. Full of fantastic humor and joy.
Deb Lewis 11/9/2015 1:00 PM
The girl on girl and boy on boy kissing would be difficult for most community theaters.  Also, as I read the play, I did not like the characters.
Annette Trossbach 5/6/2014 6:43 AM
Quirky and delightful, you'll recognize Ruhl's voice in these characters. The show is charming and witty on one level, but also thoughtful and touching on a deeper level. The three sets might be challenging for smaller theaters without a designer who thinks outside the box. The intimacy of the dialogue seems best suited for those smaller theaters.

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